Monday, December 10, 2012

The problem with self esteem

Recently, I read a book by John Rosemond titled, "Parenting by The Book".  It is an amazing read.  He offers great advice and stories.  This is not a politically correct book.  Rather, it is a book based on Scripture.

I read something in it that has really caused me to think about my parenting, children, and our world in general.  Mr. Rosemond believes that focusing on raising a child's self esteem is harmful to the child and all those around him/her. 

Self esteem means to admire one's self, to think highly of one's self.  The opposite of this is humility and modesty. 

This is based on the following Scripture:

Matthew 20:16
The last will be first, and the first will be last.

Luke 14:11
For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.
Matthew 16:24
If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.

Mr. Rosemond says, "Common sense says that the higher one's self esteem, her lower will be one's regard for the rights of others, including, in extreme cases, their very right to life" (page 53).

I began really thinking about Jesus and how we are to pattern our lives after Him.  He is the true example of selflessness.  He did not look out for Himself but, rather, looked out for others.  He humbled Himself all the way to the cross so that we could have eternal life.

It seems that self esteem is the buzz word these days.  Everywhere we look, we can find something pertaining to building a child's self esteem.  Now, most sports teams get trophies, regardless of the type of season they had.  When a child is asked to participate in a fundraiser, there are always rewards for the child based on the amounts sold.  Shouldn't we teach our youth that we help others and causes because that is the right thing to do, not for what prize they will ultimately get?

I have seen parents afraid to discipline because they didn't want to injure the child's self esteem.  Isn't teaching a child how to behave a wonderful gift?

Don't get me wrong.  I don't want my children to dislike themselves.  However, I don't believe walking on egg shells and giving them everything they want is the way to build character and a loving heart that resembles Jesus.  Just as it's true for adults, it is also true for children.  The more we focus on others, the more we love others.  The more we focus on ourselves, the more we love ourselves.